By Ellie Greenwell for ContactChile
Santiago may seem like just another bustling, metropolitan city, filled with skyscrapers, traffic and busy streets. But when you explore a little more, you’ll find that the city is full of little pockets of green – beautiful parks all over the city. When summer comes around and you’re dying to embrace the sunshine, there’s no need to leave Santiago to make the most of those long days.
Here you can find a few of the best parks to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon people-watching, dog-watching, playing games, getting cultured or simply soaking in the sun!
Parque Inés de Suárez
Like dogs? Then listen up – because you’re going to LOVE this park. Located just off the new metro line 6 at the stop with the same name, Inés de Suárez is a sprawling green park that is super popular with dog-owners (and dog-lovers!) of Santiago. If you happen to know any canine friends here, take them along for a great day out and a play with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. If you’re not lucky enough to own a dog here in Santiago, head down and enjoy a day of dog-watching. Bring some change to grab a juice or a home-made empanada from sellers who wander around the park, and stay until the sun starts to go down.
This incredible park, completed in 2011, spans over 300km2 and is one of the perfect places to escape the city madness, without even having to leave its borders. There are many micros that can take you out to Parque Bicentenario, which is located out in Santiago’s Vitacura neighbourhood – or about a 20 minute walk from metro Tobalaba.
Lined with beautiful jacaranda flowers and equipped with mini lakes, boardwalks and artsy sculptures, Bicentenario is the perfect backdrop for a peaceful Sunday picnic. There’s no shortage of green areas, so pack up your picnic basket and grab a big group of friends and maybe a bat and ball for a sunny afternoon of fun.
Bonus tip: Why not grab a couple of Lime scooters for the afternoon (download the app and find the scooters located all over Vitacura, Las Condes and La Reina neighborhoods), and whizz up and down the park to save your feet from aching?
Parque Quinta Normal
Looking for a way to inject some culture into your day out? Why not check out Parque Quinta Normal. This historic park, founded all the way back in 1842, was the very first public park in Santiago, and continues to be a cultural and recreational landmark for the capital. If you’re a nature nerd, check out the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum), located inside the park, to learn up on your Chilean biology and geology.
An absolute must-visit is the nearby Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Museum), one of the best museums in Santiago, covering the events of the military dictatorship – one of Chile’s most significant and conflictive periods.
Once you’ve gotten your history fix, head over to the park’s lagoon where you can rent pedal-boats and let off some steam. Either that, or grab an helado from a passing ice-cream seller and sit back and watch the action. Quinta Normal is a national treasure, and not a park to be missed by anyone living in Santiago.
If you need a little peace and quiet but don’t want to venture too far afield, Parque Balmaceda is a welcome spot of green right by the middle of the city. Located close by to the Providencia and Bellavista neighborhoods, this small-ish park is perfect if you’re in need of a little stroll or a shady place to read your book. The real gem of this park though, is its water feature – head down there at dusk to see the fountains light up and spring into action. A perfect sight as you head home – or maybe on a sunset stroll with a special someone 😉
A word of warning: remember that Santiago is still a big city, and you should try to avoid being in any of the city’s parks after it’s gotten completely dark. However, during the day there’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore any of the hundreds of parks Santiago has to offer.
These parks listed are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring Santiago’s green areas; they’re a great start for a fool-proof Sunday afternoon plan. But remember, sometimes in Santiago, you might just find a green tranquil area in the place you least expected it!